Some People Are A Real Mystery

, , , , | Right | February 23, 2021

I am browsing the mystery section of a used bookstore and I pick up a book by an author I really like. The lady browsing beside me takes notice of the book I’ve picked up: a cozy mystery about a member of a knitting club being accused of murder. I should point out that I am twenty-two years old. I am also barely five feet tall and have what I call “baby cheeks,” making me appear younger.

The lady speaks to me as though speaking to a small child.

Lady: “Oh, sweetie, you don’t want that book. That book’s for big girls.”

I look around for a little girl, see no one else in that section, and realize that she is talking to me.

Me: “Uh, excuse me?”

Lady: “That book you’re holding. I know it has cute little kitties on the cover, but it’s a grown-up book. I’ve read it, and it’s full of mean people and scary things.”

I am completely dumbfounded. I have often been mistaken for a teenager, but a little kid? That’s a new one. It really doesn’t help that I am wearing a low-cut top and have rather large breasts. I don’t know how she could have missed that.

Me: “Ma’am, I’m twenty-two. Besides, I’ve read the other books in the series, and—”

Lady: “Do you want me to take you to the children’s section? You’ll find lots of great books there!”

The worst part is that I can tell that this lady is sincere; she seems to genuinely believe that I am a small child. I’m so confused that I don’t even react when she takes the book out of my hands, puts it back on the shelf, and takes a few steps away, trying to get me to follow her. I finally snap out of it, still wondering if I’ve somehow entered the Twilight Zone, and grab the book again.

The lady smiles like I’m an adorable toddler.

Lady: “Ah, sweetie—”

I had meant to look around some more, but at this point, I just want to get my book and get out. I fast-walk to the checkout, the lady following me the whole way, chastising me even as I pay! I don’t know what my face looks like, but it must be enough for the cashier to have some idea of what is going on. I should also mention that the cashier is a pretty big guy.

Cashier: *Leaning in and whispering* “Want me to block the door?”

Me: *Relieved* “Thank you.”

I slipped a few dollars in the tip jar and bolted the moment he gave me my book and receipt. I got in my car as fast as I could. I saw the cashier watching me, the crazy lady still trying to get past him. He didn’t move until my car left the parking lot. Thank you, cashier, for saving me from whatever that was. I did enjoy the book, by the way.

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